Load: The Language of Our Cells
As biological organisms, we’re hardwired to adapt, develop, and grow according to the forces that we experience.
Of these forces, “load” is king and our bodies are built to respond to it. When you go to the gym and lift weights, your muscles grow as a result.
In addition to our muscles, our neurological and fascial systems also respond to external forces. These changes aren’t as visible – such as an increase in bone density, for example – but they’re equally important.
We’re adaptable to not being loaded, as well. Our body dissolves tissue that’s not being used – such as when we’re padding them -. through a process called mechanotransduction. Therefore, our bodies will only be as resilient as the forces we put on them. The padded shoe revolution is a perfect example of this.
Use It or Lose It
Running shoe manufacturers started padding shoes to make running more comfortable and accessible to more people. But today, modern shoe design has gone off the rails. Now, we have incredibly padded shoes that are eliminating the loads of running on the body.
Science suggests there will be long term consequences of changing the body’s experience of running. As soon as we don’t give our body stimulus to maintain, we should expect that it’s going to lose that capacity.
We "Wear and Repair"
The concept of wear and tear is one we often apply to our bodies. But our bodies don’t operate like machines – they regenerate when they break down, making them more like plants.
Our bodies need use – they need to interpret the world around them in order to constantly remodel. That is the process of training. While load is critical to our athletic development, our body is much more preoccupied with the shape and pattern of that movement than it is how much force we can apply.
That’s why it’s so key to think about how we evolved to move and make sure we’re pattering loads in those orientations. When we do that, we’re reinforcing these natural patterns of human movement that have been a part of our repertoire from the beginning.
In the next episode of the Locomotion Show, we’re going to take a look at mindset, specifically the mental and emotional factors that have an impact on whether we train and how we train.